Sitting on the front stoop, brushing her shiny golden corn silk hair. Her soft vanilla milkshake colored body in a thin, eggshell white flowered dress, a pink two pocket, three button, down cardigan, and a pair of light blue baby doll bloomers. She is squeezed snuggly between my thighs. The hard plastic head resting on the tops of my thighs; holding her in place. I ever so gently brush the top layer of her hair; careful not to muss up a single strand.
Today is my birthday. I’m the first kid on my block to get the new cabbage patch doll. It just came out and I got one. Darn it. I pull ever so gently the brush, slightly tangled in a piece of her gleaming blond hair. Don’t mess it up, I think. I am so proud. I hear Pudge. “Want to touch her?” I turn and say to my sister, as she watches enviously from behind the front screen door. I hold Mary Madison in the air. The light from the sun reflecting, enhancing the brilliance of her newness. My sister stares with her reddened eyes. I turn back to my doll, cradling her in my arms. Where is everyone, I think. Anticipating my status as most popular; for Christmas is three months away.
Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, Rudy and Loverra? I wish. I never miss an episode of the Cosby show. Every Monday, Loverra, Denisha, Tahisha, Racondo and mom. The whole family, except dad, congregated in front of the tv. Dad is always at work. I like most of the black people I know, even some of my white friends want to be a member of the Cosby family. I’m sitting on the floor in front of mom, she’s braiding my hair.
The right side of my head throbbing from the super tight cornrows that cross my scalp in neat lines from left to right. Owww, I think as she yanks at my tangled locks, scraping the comb across my scalp, sectioning out hair for the next plait. My arm still smarting from when she swatted me with the rat tail comb for pulling my head away, as she wrestled with a knot. Water dripping down my hairline, behind my ears and down my neck. Hair like mine has to be wet in order to gain any control over it. I don’t have good hair like my sisters. It is her fault, nobody told her to marry a Jamaican. I scooch my bum from side to side. My butt is sore from sitting so long. I’ve been sitting for what seems like hours in the same spot; trying to not fidget. My mom is irritated too at the fact it is taking so long. I can tell because she is more course with the comb then when we started. I hear the full-mouthed voices of my sisters getting closer. My older sister comes and sits on my right and Pudge plunks herself down on my the left. My older sister always smells like Frosted Flakes. Not in a good way. My mom nudges my little sisters with her foot. “Can’t you be more graceful, you clumsy cow.” “Quite the shows starting.” Doot, doot, doot, do…..that familiar tune.
“Dumb ass!” My brother yammers from his spot on the front steps. I pace back and forth in the walkway. Ohh, I gotta go, go, go. I have to pee. I can’t think about anything else. I have to pee so bad. I can feel it. I know I can’t hold it much longer. My eyes are blurry with tears. I have to pee so bad. I’m going to explode. My sister forgot her key for the umpteenth time this week. She is a dumb ass, I think. She thinks she’s so cool in her fake gold door knocker earring and pink and white high top L’A Gear. I can’t hold it, please stop. God, help me. We have to wait for my mom to get home from work. I sit down. Legs bouncing up and down. I wiggle and clench my thighs. Biting my bottom lip. Please God help me. I have to pee. I have to pee. “Go pee in the bushes”, my sister says in a bitchy voice. But warns me to not let the bitter old golden girls next door see. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia, told on my brother last week for shooting bb’s with Larry from up on the roof. We live in a “nice” neighborhood and I’m too embarrassed. I haven’t yet perfected the art of peeing in a semi-squat without having a trail of pee run down my legs so I have to hold it. “Stop it!” “Stop it!” He propels the red translucent skinned berries from our front bushes at me. “Take your Ghetto ass back across the track!” The berries burst open as they hit my arm and cheek. Their slimey, gooey insides stick to my face. “Im telling Mom!” “I’m telling dad, and he’s gonna whoop your ass again!” He rushes over. He sits on me. “Ahhhhh!” “ Ahhhhh!” “Stop!” “Stop!” “Please. I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” He tickles me. He presses me down. I buckle and jerk my body. The warmness between my leg spreads. Tears run down my face. Crying uncontrollably; I choke on my tears. “Shut up”, my sister says to me as she watches passively from the side railing; her earring swaying back and forth. I think how much I hate her, my brother, and my whole stupid family. I sit with wet pants and intermittent crying for two hours.
I plop myself down on the couch. My stomach growls. I’m still hungry, my fat brother ate most of the Salisbury steak again. He left only two patties and the mushy white rice for my sisters and I to share. He eats everything. I get angry thinking how my moms says she will not buy any more Captain Crunch cereal because he keeps eating a whole box for breakfast. Why are we punished for his FATNESS. Click, click, click MTV. Everyone’s asleep. I finally get the tv to myself. This sounds cool. I never heard a song like this before. O.k. He’s in a morgue, interesting. Fat corpse on a gurney, interesting. Bluesy guitar riff. Harmonica. Camera pans to other dead white people. And Ohh, it opens its eyes.
“She grew up in an Indiana town
Had a good-lookin’ mama who never was around
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights”
Hey, thats Jessica Rabbit, she’s dead. I sit up, turn the volume up a bit and reposition myself on the couch. This is a change from the usual R&B music I’m suppose to like. They don’t make videos like this on BET. The mortician takes the beautiful dead woman home. This music video is more like a film. I love the dreary effect of the sound and cinematography together. I’m enjoying myself. “You are so white.” I turn around to see my mom’s new boyfriend staring at the tv. I suddenly don’t like him. I thought he was nice. He gave me a bag of pork rinds the other day. I wish I had some of their salty, break your teeth goodness now. He turns and leaves the room. I am sad. I am angry. I hate him. I hate my life. It’s so boring. I’m so bored with watching tv all day. I know i’m adopted. I don’t look like anyone else in my family, maybe my dad, but whatever. I try to resettle myself and finish watching the video. But Larry’s 4 words are enough to bring up all my insecurities and ruin what was suppose to be a pleasant evening. Niagara Falls is so dumb and the people are so dumb. “Why don’t you talk like this Loverra? Why don’t you dress like that Loverra?” Gosh, I had to hear this crap at school and now even in my own home. Why did he have to yuk my yum. I was enjoying myself. I can’t wait til I graduate high school and move to NY. My mom and dad moved us to a nice middle class neighborhood. So my older brother and sister are more “black” than my little sister and I. But even my little sister likes R&B music. My brother is headed for a criminal future which we all know. Im sure deep down even he knows. And my trampy older sister, whom has made it impossible for me to have a social life because my dad is afraid I will get pregnant and be a hootchie like her. So I spend way too much time alone in my room or at the library.
He has dressed her in a victorian style dress and is holding her limp body up as they dance inside a circle of lit red candles. The video is just another reminder of the things I will get to taste and see when I move out of here. Beautiful landscape scene of a creepy old house and the dark blue sky illuminated by a glowing moon. He carries her out to his parked car. It is morning and they are at the beach. He carries her limp body into the ocean. Seagulls swirling around the open blue sky above. A perfect California day is what it reminds me of. He lets her go and she sinks beneath the water. He turns and walks away. She opens her eyes.
Ooh, ooh I can’t believe I got it. I’ve been looking for this book forever. After I finished reading “On the Road”, which Jack supposedly wrote in a weeklong Speed binge. It led me on a search to read every book by this beatnik. And today I find it on a random walking trip down in the village. In a box, under a table mixed with other, brown paged, badly used books. I can’t believe it only cost me $0.25. Thank you universe. Thank you universe. There is a God who wants me to succeed. I’m going to be famous too one day. The cover is off white, browning and creased and bringing the book up to my nose a little funky. I don’t care, it’s $0.25. Why aren’t all books this great. Why wasn’t I born in the 50’s. Dharma Bums in big red letters and Jack Kerouac sharing equal cover billing in blue. I pay the man. Cross the street to a bodega. I buy an everything bagel and a cup of coffee; cream two sugar. Heading over to the park, to sit on a bench and read my destiny. This is my life in New York city.
Friday night Goth and Industrial music the flyer says. And so I came with my new Goth friend Nia. No matter what the subject of conversation, it always ends on the topic of Morrissey with her. I met her a week ago in my dorm’s hallway. She smells of a a sweet, pungent spiciness. PATCHOULI. It is such a strong scent. You always notice her smell when she walks in a room, before her tiny hunchback frame. She is always dressed in black.
I’m dressed all in black. Excited and apprehensive. It’s 11 o’clock at night and I’m outside. No mom and dad. Thick black eyeliner circling my eye and carefully drawn swirls extended to my temples. Fishnet stockings. My new black shiny Dr Martens. I hope I don’t look too much like a poser. I don’t want to be clocked as a weekend Goth, but a hard core Greenwich street kid. I rip open one of my fishnet holes, and scuff the tops of my new boots on the curb. Now I look the part.
A tight shiny mid thigh length dress, that fanned out at the bottom. A neat row of safety pins, pinned in a line down the front. A spiky black choker that Nia let me borrow. I look great. I feel great. QUEEN OF THE DAMNED. I can hear the pounding bass as we round the corner from the subway to the club.
The music is so loud. I can feel my heart beating and the vibration of the bass. I can see people checking me out as I squeeze my way through the crowd. It smells of cigarettes, and B O. The music is fast and hard. Light beams moving back and forth over the crowd. Nia grabs my hand and pulls me over to a empty spot next to a wall. “What do you want to drink?” I shrug my shoulders and she walks away, I lose her in the crowd. There is so much to take in. Pale faces. Skinny bodies. A beautiful corseted girl. “Want to dance?’’ I follow Nia onto the dance floor. I’m not scared. I know I can dance. The music morphs into a slower, creamier, less harsh sound. This is it. Hips following the beat. I sway my arms up in the air gesticulating my fingers. Lost in it all. I dance non stop until the lights come on. Sweaty, proud, fully alive.
Zen mind, beginner’s mind. That shit don’t work when you’re in a jam. “Gracias Senor.” I stare at the heart shaped sweat stain on the back of his frayed American flag tshirt as he walks away. A gray and brown scraggly cat saunters by. Three drunk Mexicans sit at a table in the back corner; prattling in Spanish. They’re probably talking about me, I think; just another dumb tourist. Hmmn. I sit back and take a swig. The cold carbonated bitter, gold liquid stings my parched throat as it flows down. This is not the spring break vacation I had in mind. I feel like I’m melting, it’s so damn hot. The air is so thick and heavy, almost hard to breath. I wish I had ordered a sweet Fresca. I rub my eyes; itchy and watery from the wind constantly blowing dirt in them.
A funky sweat soaked paisley green polyester shirt stuck to my sticky grimy, unwashed skin. I don’t know what to do. Just sitting here; alone; totally in the moment. My legs are tired. I feel I can’t walk another step. My back sore from carrying my loaded army green duffle bag. It lays shiftlessly on its side on the red clay dusty ground. Regret and tears welling up in my eyes. The shame of being robbed. Was it my fault Amy ran off? Stuck in Cuernavaca with no bus fare home. I lick the salt crumbs off my lips, reaching for another tortilla chip. Waiting as I muster up the courage to call my dad.
How did I end up here? Beige. Chestnut. Burgundy. Sandlot brown. Wood grain brown. Dusty pebble brown. Brown. Brown Brown. Square green bushes. White trimmed windows and doors. Perfect breeze, chilling the sweat beads on my face. “Good morning”, as I maneuver my stroller to the side. A squat asian woman power walks by. Arf, arf arf. Damn pomeranian.
Written for Andrew Burgess’s ENG 200: Composition II